Now is the time to act if we want to see Drapers Bluff reopened!
The Illinois General Assembly is in session and HB6072 is being introduced to restore protections for landowners against recreational liability. This bill will tremendously impact climbers because it will reinstate protection for owners of private areas where we climb, such as Drapers Bluff, Holy Boulders, and others. We urge you to call, write or e-mail your State Representative and Senator, and ask them to support HB6072 to restore protections against recreational liability.
This bill restores protection – originally granted in 1965 – for landowners who allow the general public the use of their land for various recreational activities. In 2005, the law was amended and all recreational activities except for hunting and shooting were removed. This directly affected, and forced the closure of, the privately owned portion of Drapers Bluff. Restoring these protections would ensure that we can once again enjoy the great rock at Drapers Bluff. Additionally, if you know someone who fishes, hikes, bikes, bird watches, rides horses, sleds, ice skates, and of course climbs, I urge you to forward this e-mail and ask them to contact their State Representative and Senator in Illinois about supporting HB6072.
What should I do?
Find your State Representative and State Senator here (not to be confused with US Senator/Representative). We encourage you to contact both, but because this bill is a House Bill (HB) contact your State Representative first!
The search “By Address” is probably the easiest, and will return a list of your elected officials. Their names will link to a contact page that contains their mailing address, phone and fax number. Most do not use e-mail, but have contact forms on their web pages. If you would prefer to contact your officials electronically, you can quickly find their page using google.
If you are not sure what to say, you can copy/paste/modiy the following:
Dear [insert Rep. name],
As your constituent, I urge you to vote in support of HB6072 to reinstate liability protections that have made it possible for landowners to open their properties to the public for recreation, conservation, and education. I do not want to lose access to beautiful natural areas that our state has to offer.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Out of State Residents
Drapers Bluff is represented by Senator Forby and Representative Phelps. We urge you to write, call, or e-mail both and ask them to support HB6072. If they ask where you live tell them you are out of state but inform them that you are calling them because Drapers Bluff is closed and it is located in their district, Johnson County, IL. Be sure to mention to the Senator and Representative that you recreate in their district and that you spend money at local businesses when you visit Drapers Bluff.
If you are not sure what to say, you may use the following:
Dear [insert Rep. name],
although I am not an Illinois resident, I frequently travel to your area for rocking climbing as well as other activities. I truly appreciate the beautiful natural areas your region has to offer and I was very disappointed when I heard about the closure of one your area’s best climbing destinations because the law that had protected the owners no longer made it safe for them to allow the general public onto their land. Undoubtedly, other people have had similar experiences with activities they enjoy.
While I may not be an Illinois resident, I would like to think that my frequent travel, dining and lodging have had a positive impact on your area and I ask you to vote in support of HB6072 so that I, and others like myself, will find reasons for visiting your state even more frequently.
You can call Representative Brandon W Phelps at (217) 782-5131 or (618) 253-4189, send a fax at (217) 557-0521 or (618) 253-3136, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: It appears that the email for Representative Phelps no longer works. Instead you can use the contact form on his page to send him a message.
You can call Senator Gary Forby at (217) 782-5509 or (618) 439-2504, send a fax at (618) 438-3704 or reach him via his contact form.
Follow the progress of the bill here. More information is also available at openlands.org.
Please act now and don’t miss this opportunity to help bring change that would mean so much to climbers everywhere! We NEED your help and time is short, so call and write your State Representative and Senator, and ask them to support HB6072.
The Illinois Climbers Association